EU to Microsoft: You Like Bundling? I'll Show You Bundling…
“Talk is cheap,” EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes once said. “Flouting the rules is expensive.” Truer words, especially for Microsoft, which may soon face some significant penalties abroad for bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser and Windows OS.
The European Commission said today that if its antitrust investigation into Microsoft (MSFT) concludes that the company has been abusing its market position, it may force it to bundle multiple browsers with Windows or slap it with significant fines based on sales of Windows in the EU. “The Commission would consider ordering Microsoft to give users an objective opportunity to choose which competing web browsers instead of, or in addition to, Internet Explorer they want to install in Windows,” said an EC spokesman. “Microsoft could also be ordered to technically allow the user to disable Internet Explorer code should the user choose to install a competing browser.”
Microsoft hasn’t yet officially responded to the charges or requested a hearing in which to plead its case. But it must do something soon because clearly, its “but PC users are already free to run any Web browser in Windows” argument isn’t working.